U.S. District Judge William Conley in Wisconsin thrilled abortion advocates on Friday, ruling that the state’s law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles was unconstitutional. The ruling came as a rebuff to Gov. Scott Walker, a leading contender for the GOP 2016 presidential bid, who had signed the law in 2013. The Wisconsin State Journal reported in 2010, “Conley has been a steady campaign contributor mainly to Democratic and liberal-leaning candidates, including Gov. Jim Doyle and Obama, along with Butler and state Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.”
Wisconsin has four abortion clinics; Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services had sued the station behalf of Affiliated Medical Services’ Milwaukee clinic.
Conley wrote that safety was a concern for abortion clinics but there was a paucity of abortions involving complications and so the law went too far. He added, “In particular, the State has failed to meet its burden of demonstrating through credible evidence a link between the admitting privileges requirement and a legitimate health interest.”
As just one example of the need for access to local hospitals, LifeNews reported earlier this week, “For the 28th time less than six years, a patient of the Central West End Health Center of Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, Missouri, was transported by ambulance to a local hospital for emergency care that could not be provided by Planned Parenthood.”
Conley argued that the “sudden adoption” of the requirements of the law, giving clinics three days to prepare the paperwork, “compels a finding that [the law’s] purpose was to impose a substantial obstacle on women’s rights to abortions in Wisconsin.”
The strategy of requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at local hospitals has been successful in 14 states; Louisiana is scheduled to implement a similar law on Sept. 1 and Oklahoma on Nov. 1.